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Tsunami-hit towns still barren as rebuilding lags

5:05 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images
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RIKUZENTAKATA, Japan - Tens of thousands of people who lost everything in the tsunami that pulverized Japan's northeastern coast two years ago are living in temporary housing, longing for homes of their own that are unlikely to come for several more years.

Japan's progress in rebuilding from the wall of water that thundered over coastal sea walls, sweeping towns away and killing nearly 19,000 people, is mainly measured in barren foundations and empty spaces.

The recovery has been slowed by the imperative to move residents out of areas prone to tsunami that can swell several stories high. Delays in approvals for cutting forests on mountains that will be used for relocation, refusals to let businesses rebuild on former farmland and uncertainties over property ownership are among the obstacles slowing the rebuilding.

ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press

The Associated Press

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